GET TO KNOW OUR HEROES: Chantal, the Connector
Call her the glue of the community, the connector: Chantal, 38, lives in Leerdam and brings the Movely community together. Today we get a look behind the scenes at team member Chantal: who is she, what is her appeal with the salsa scene and what will she do at Movely?
Chantal’s daily life
Besides the fact that Chantal is the mother of a beautiful 10-year-old daughter, she also works at Rabobank. She has been working there for 12.5 years in various positions, including community management. “I learned a lot there. For example, what triggers a person to want to belong to a community?”
She currently takes care of connecting colleagues all over the world who work in the agricultural sector. “You have to deal with different cultures and language barriers, which sometimes makes it more difficult to connect. Someone in Brazil has a very different kind of culture than someone in Australia.” Although there are many differences, Chantal does not look so much at what separates them, but looks for the common denominator: the interfaces that connect people. Because that basis of connection is necessary for growth. “You want them to be able to connect with each other, so that they can learn from each other and network.”
Chantal is half Indonesian and half Dutch and proud of her roots: “I’ve been to Indonesia before, and I also went to the house where my father grew up. That was really cool.” Her goal is to do the same trip with her daughter, sister and her children. “I am very proud of my background. I think it’s important that my daughter gets that way too.” That is why Chantal raises her daughter with the language, the culture and the food. “The food is super tasty, so Indonesian cooking is mainly done at home.”
In any case, family is very important to Chantal: “I am really a family person. I like the feeling of family: the love to each other, togetherness. That’s really who I am.”
When Chantal started dancing at Striktly in Rotterdam, she discovered the same feeling: “It touched me so much. I also experienced the feeling I have towards my family there.”
Dancing is living
Dancing has always been a passion of Chantal and therefore a large part of her childhood. “I started ballroom dancing when I was 12. Latin really was my preference: cha cha, samba & rumba.” From the age of 16, the interest turned more towards street dance, hip hop and later Zumba. She rarely sat really still. When a colleague told her in 2003 that she was going to salsa lessons, Chantal wanted to join immediately. “That colleague friend went to take dance lessons in The Hague, I lived in Soest, and she lived in Almere. I would have dinner with her in Almere, then we would drive together to The Hague for an hour of lessons and then drive back to Almere together where I sometimes stayed the night.”
Because she had so much fun at dance school Salsero, Chantal stayed there for a few years until she thought: “This can probably be done much closer to home”.
That is how she ended up at Union Salsa in Utrecht where she stayed for years and ended up in a bachata show team. There they trained fanatically for a performance; three times a week was the standard. “We had a lot of fun. I am very happy that I had the opportunity there to develop myself and take my dance experience to a higher level.”
A dream came true for Chantal when she got the chance to teach. “It was really cool to see people grow enormously in dancing, but also in the fun they have. To be able to contribute to that makes me very enthusiastic.”
After three years she made the choice to stop teaching. “After a while it is just not possible to combine it with your full-time job and being a mother.”
Since then, she has mainly been found at parties and socials to fulfill her dance craving. “I’d rather challenge myself in the salsa room than in the bachata room. I really like spiders, especially when things go well haha.” For example, Chantal’s record of spinning with partner is 12 spins in a row. She says she can’t do that anymore. “I remember I was very happy and jumped. I’m still standing and I can just continue the dance!”
Although she mainly travels all over the Netherlands for all the parties and drives from Utrecht to Rotterdam every Tuesday for Striktly on Tuesday, Chantal has also danced in some exotic places. “When I go on holiday or a weekend away, I usually look for: which parties are there and is it near the hotel?” She has already danced in Mexico, Brazil, Miami, Frankfurt and Antwerp. Croatia is still on her dance bucket list. Just like Latin Weekender and Antillean parties that unfortunately cannot continue this year.
Now that there are restrictions for dancing during the corona crisis, Chantal experiences a considerable loss. “I really feel a hole now that we’re not allowed to dance. I don’t feel complete.” In order to keep the dance fire going, she dances at home with her daughter or with her sister. “Just turn on the music. Then I feel that enthusiasm and that passion for dancing again. Then my dancing heart jumps again.”
Chantal has a strategic view, psychological knowledge and an intrinsic drive to connect people. That, in combination with her hands-on knowledge from her community management role, makes Chantal the perfect candidate to work at Movely to help strengthen the community. She does this one day a week next to her job at Rabobank.
For example, she maps out for Movely how we can create a safe and inspiring environment where everyone can express themselves best. “I really want to expand the community. That we can share everything in the field of dance. But also connection in everything that is already available. Events, dance classes. But we need each other for that.”
There are already many Movely members who are all eager to go to a party again. Chantal thinks that too should be given attention: “Especially in this time, how can we help to keep your passion, even though we can’t dance now?”
Bringing all these elements together is the core of the community, according to Chantal. The connection she refers to: “When I think of Movely, I think of joy, enthusiasm, connecting, together, sharing passion, and above all open. You feel welcome to participate in everything that is offered. Trust and openness.”
From that feeling, Chantal goes in search of what is needed: “I want to be ‘seen’ when I register or join something. I also want that for the members of Movely: a warm welcome.”
Chat & think along!
Do you have great ideas that match this? Do you want to have a nice chat or think about the community? Join the conversation in the app or contact Chantal by emailing her at